HUNTER Reginald Anthony 5978

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Reginald Anthony Desmond HUNTER

Service No: 5978
Born: Fremantle WA, 19 August 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 January 1940
Unit: No. 13 Squadron, operating from Namlea
Died: Air Operations: (No. 13 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-7), Tondano, Celebes, 12 January 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Alex and Margaret Hunter, of Beaconsfield, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 100, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

At dawn on 12th January the Allied air attacks on the enemy forces invading Celebes were resumed. On their way to Menado five Hudsons from Namlea were intercepted by three enemy float-planes and five Zeros —the first of these Japanese fighters to be reported in the area. The
Zero pilots immediately turned the tables on the Hudson crews. In unequal combat, the details of which were never recorded, the (No. 2 Squadron) aircraft piloted by Hodge (451) and Gorrie (407168) were both shot down from between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Two other Hudsons, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Sattler and Flight Lieutenant Barton, failed to return and their crews were later listed as “presumed lost”. The only aircraft of the flight to return was that piloted by Flight Lieutenant Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (200540) who reported having seen the Hudsons flown by Hodge and Gorrie shot down. When, half an hour later, those captained by Sattler and Barton had not returned, permission was given to the base operators to break wireless silence in an endeavour to call them up. There was a prompt reply, in good signals procedure, informing the base that the pilots had no message for them. That reply, if in fact it did come from either of the two missing crews, was the last the squadron heard of them.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 307

The next day, the 12th January, a group of five Hudsons from 2 and 13 Squadrons operating out of Namlea, returned to Manado to press home the attack. This time they were confronted by floatplanes and a group of Zeros, the first Zeros to be encountered by the Lockheed pilots. Their aircraft were no match for the Japanese fighters and only one machine belonging to 2 Squadron survived. 13 Squadron lost Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) and his crew of Sergeant John Graham Goode (407788) (2nd pilot), Wireless Operator Air Gunner Sergeant Reginald Anthony Desmond Hunter (5978) and Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant Matthew Roscoe Hodgson (406529), as well as Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) and crew of Flying Officer Samuel William Clifford (677) (2nd pilot), Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant John Lake Mills (407106) and Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant Bernard Samuel Bates (406513).

Extract from Grantham, S.R. (Sidney Richard) (6590) The 13 Squadron Story, S.R. Grantham, Dee Why NSW 2099, 1991 – Pages 42-3

The crew members of A16-7 were:

Sergeant John Graham Goode (407788) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Matthew Roscoe Hodgson (406529) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Reginald Anthony Desmond Hunter (5978) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) (Pilot)

No. 2 Squadron lost Hudson A16-46 (Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell Hodge (451) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.

No. 2 Squadron lost Hudson A16-12 (Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie (407168) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.

No. 13 Squadron lost Hudson aircraft A16-67 (Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/124/104

Bibliography:

Vincent, D. (David) The RAAF Hudson Story Book 1, D. Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1989
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992